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3.5: Email

  • Page ID
    69218
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    This chapter is brought to you by Sybil Priebe and edited pieces of this Wikibook31.

    Email is the remediated version of the letter. We’re still supposed to use a greeting and a closing; we’re supposed to be brief, and, yes, there are “return addresses” involved, just as there are attachments like there used to be enclosures.

    Email is the new letter. I’m repeating that because it’s not the new or old text message. It’s not Snapchat. It’s not Facebook. It’s still supposed to be – especially if the intended audience is a teacher or boss – a professional form of communication.

    So, basically, some of the same principles that we learn about writing letters can be used when learning about how to write an email message. Think for a few seconds about your audience. Then think for a few more seconds. Make sure to capitalize the person’s name, use correct punctuation, and spell words correctly. Adding a closing is a bonus!

    A Deeper Dive

    Historically, email was an informal way of communicating to other workers. Email straddles the line between informal communication and formal business interaction.

    Communicating via email can be difficult to deal with in a business setting because of the inability to tell emotion or tone of typed text. Caution must be used when writing emails in a professional business setting.

    Keep in mind the following tips when composing an email.

    • Limit email use in the workplace to business-specific information and topics.
    • Review email for legal implications, because any and all written documents in a business environment can be used in court.
    • Use professional language and tone.
    • Pay attention to your audience and consider their background when writing.

    Audience: Intended vs. Unintended

    Every document that is created is normally crafted to someone specifically. This someone would be your intended audience, for your writing style, and content will be tailored to their appeal. Email messages, unlike some other business documents, are not restricted to just one person, or intended audience.

    All aspects of your business documents should take into consideration everyone that could potentially read it. By ensuring this, you will save yourself and even possibly save your job.

    As mentioned above, you never know who will be reading your documentation, so if an unintended reader who is not authorized to read or use your document, decides to use it, they could be putting themselves and others in significant danger.

    Ending a Communication

    Research has shown that the reader is able to remember things said at the end of communication more than in any other part of communication. In order to properly end communication, it is important to follow the guidelines presented below.

    • Repeat your main point. Make sure to emphasize your main point in your conclusion. It allows the reader to think about the main point one last time.
    • Summarize your key points. Although this guideline is similar to the one above, when you summarize, you are ensuring that your audience understands your entire communication.
    • Refer to a goal stated earlier in your communication. It is common to state a goal in the beginning of communication. Referring to your goal at the end of communication sharpens the focus of your communication.
    • Focus on a key feeling. In some communications, it may be important to encourage your reader. Therefore, focusing on a feeling will help focus your reader.
    • Tell your readers how to get more information. Acknowledging they may need future communication assistance will encourage your reader.
    • Nicely tell your readers what to do next. Giving guidance will help lead your reader in the direction you want.
    • Follow applicable social conventions. Examples of this are letters ending with an expression of thanks, and a statement that it has been enjoyable working with the reader.

    EXAMPLE: “BAD” EMAIL MESSAGE

    i did use a source, i had it in my work cited page at the end of my paper. And your right i did not flat out or clearly say i was arguing that i was your stereotypical jock but ithought throughout my paper i was pretty clear listing all the reasons as to why i was jock and pointed out how i matched many of the stereotypes that are most commonly given to jocks. Then in my conclusion i wanted to leave my reading with something to think about so i said how i felt that even though i am your stereotypical jock that does not define who i am as a person entirely. I really only earned 50 points out of 100 for that paper? I would like to know why you feel this way?

    EXAMPLE: PROFESSIONAL EMAIL MESSAGE

    Dear Sybil Priebe,

    I finally understand what exactly you wanted in P4 with quotations. I guess for some reason that never clicked earlier. I'm really upset with myself for not understanding this concept earlier. Especially since I put roughly 20 hours into this project and then "BAM", it was completely lost due to a backpack thief, leaving me exactly 12 hours of a day to completely start over from scratch.

    I will correct this mistake in my paper for my own satisfaction. And I assume there is no such thing as correction credit other than my own satisfaction in knowing I did my best.

    I do think there is a flaw in putting quotes around material though. I feel like everything I learn, in a sense comes from someone else, or has already been done before; therefore, should quotations should be put on everything we ever do or say? I'm not trying to be a smart ass. And I understand the difference between P4 quotation requirements (now) vs. it's all been done (quote it all). I'm just giving some food for thought.

    -Tony M.

    Assignments and Questions to Consider

    Write an email to the president of our college, letting him/her know the benefits and pitfalls of attending NDSCS. At the minimum, include the following criteria:

    • Some sort of structure: intro, body, conclusion
    • Three benefits/pitfalls
    • A professional tone

    31 “Professional and Technical Writing/Business Communications/E-Mail.” Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project. 22 May 2016, 20:17 UTC. 25 May 2016, 18:49


    This page titled 3.5: Email is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sybil Priebe, Ronda Marman, & Dana Anderson (North Dakota University System) .

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